Dearest reader, on this day, six years ago, we published our very first blog post, stating our geodynamission: our plans for this new geodynamics division blog. From that day onwards, I have had the absolute privilege of being your Editor-in-Chief. But all good things must end and so does my term of being the Editor-in-Chief. Before I say my final goodbyes, let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? Because if this is not the time to get nostalgic, when is? Let’d dive into the origin story of the blog…
If you really want to get down to it, I guess it all started when I met Adina Pusok at the EGU GA in 2016. I was introduced to her in the Bermuda Bräu, which – if you are unaware – is the unofficial hangout of solid Earth scientists during EGU. This was my first big conference and – having no clue what to do – I followed the advice to “go out until the early hours, because how else are you going to network?”. And so, I found myself in a bar – which is *not* my natural habitat – trying to ignore the smoke around me – yes, they still smoked inside then. Maybe they still do. I don’t know. I have vowed to never enter that bar again. It’s just not my thing. And lo and behold: my network is doing just fine – screaming over the music in a desperate attempt to get a conversation going, and just generally feeling very out of place. Great. Love those first-time conferences.
But no fear: Adina to the rescue! We struck up a conversation and we had something in common: our love for Harry Potter and the UK in general. This was good, because as a first-year PhD student, I was very easily intimidated by just about anyone. Adina in particular ticked all the boxes to intimidate me: she had almost finished her PhD – oh my god, she’s so senior! – and she was the Geodynamics Early Career Scientist Representative – oh wow, she is *important*. However, it is very difficult to stay intimidated by someone when you are discussing which film locations of Harry Potter you have visited, so we actually had a conversation as equals and it turned out we shared even more: being enthusiastic about geodynamics. And willing to take initiative.
Would you be interested in blogging, perhaps?
Adina’s mission was to put the Early Career Scientists of geodynamics on the map. And what better way to do that than with a blog? A lot of other divisions had a blog, so why not the geodynamics division? Hm. Interesting. I was quite interested in blogging. Indeed, I had already written for the Seismology division blog – I knew some of the editors – but when I tried to join their editorial team, I felt like they didn’t necessarily want me. Might have been wrong timing – I was a young PhD -; might have been miscommunication. In any case: I felt like the Seismology division wasn’t super excited to have me on board. And I need super excitement. Always.
Adina was super excited. And smart, because she didn’t want to lead the blog initiative herself. After all, she had more than enough duties as an ECS rep. So, we low key brainstormed on how we would get a blog running. It was decided that it would be my baby and Adina would support me in my endeavours, but really leave it up to me. We attended a ‘How to start blogging?’ short course at the next EGU – 2017, if you’re counting – and wrote a proposal for the blog together to pitch it to the communications officer of EGU. We outlined our target audience, upload frequency, the kind of posts we wanted to write, and how we would all manage it. EGU liked it! Hooray! One of the few proposals that I have written to date that was successful!
So then it was time to start blogging. I started by assembling a team at EGU 2017 by – frankly quite forcefully -nudging friends into editor roles. I had my first little team. Let’s blog! Easier said than done. How do you make people do things? Especially when it’s all voluntary and nobody feels responsible? Tricky, tricky. I had to learn a lot that year. We managed quite well with getting word of the blog out to the community. The timing of the NetherMod conference was a big help here, as I made sure everyone became aware of the blog there. But I was writing and editing the majority of the posts the first years of the blog. Unsustainable. I also had a PhD to do. EGU 2019 therefore became the time to brainstorm with the team how we could more clearly give people tasks such that people actually felt compelled to do them. And so our current system was born: editors are assigned to certain weeks where they are responsible for a blog post. Worked like a charm! And I could focus on finishing my PhD.
Having ‘cracked the code’ when it came to managing the team, I was able to let the blog grow and grow. We created the Friday column The Sassy Scientist after yet another successful brainstorm session with a friend (the original Sassy Scientist) at EGU 2019. In 2020, we raised a lot of money for charity – over €15,000. Amazing! – through our post #Black in Geoscience edited by the newly-added editor Lucía Perez-Diaz. Inspired by the power of a good illustration in this post, I invested the next year (2021) in recruiting illustrators to make the blog more visually appealing.
And so the blog grew and grew and in fact became the envy of the other divisions – or so I am told. Because this little geodynamics division somehow manages to produce the most blog output of all! This would not have been possible without all the people who have worked on the blog over the years. Thanks to all the editors, illustrators, columnists and – above all – guest authors who have made the EGU Geodynamics blog what it is today.
So. At last the time has come to say goodbye to six wonderful years of blogging. I have other outreach projects to pursue. A permanent job to find. I hope you had a blast. I certainly did. And you are in good hands with the new Editors-in-Chief: Michael Pons and Constanza Rodriguez Piceda. I bet you didn’t even notice the transition, now did you? Because they have been running the blog for a little over a month now. In my opinion, they have done a spectacular job so far!
So I can leave without worrying. The end of an era. The blog has brought me many things. Friends! Great collaborations. The Geodynamics 101 short courses! A first-author review paper (whaaaaat?!). A great network. And a sense of belonging in a community where I at first felt so out of place. The community is – after all – entirely up to us to create.
Editor-in-chief over and out.